Matt Greitzer discusses his inspirations, search marketing’s appeal, and how karaoke can bring a team together.
What drew you to search?
I started out at an entry level position at Avenue A in ad trafficking and worked in that capacity for about three years. I got into SEO in 2001 or 2002 and starting digging around in the SEM industry. I remember going to SES in Boston in 2002 and seeing this whole industry that had built up kind of quietly around the search community, and I hadn’t really been aware of it. It was eye-opening for me to see people who were really building the industry from scratch, and that was what really turned me on to it. From there I got more involved in the paid search side of things and helped build up our search practice at Razorfish, but was really drawn to the qualitative and quantitative sides of it. It was very appealing – there was just a really immediate impact on clients’ businesses by combining those two pieces together.
Where do you see opportunity in the sector?
Some of the fundamental aspects that made search so successful are starting to carry over into other areas of the industry, particularly with the auction model. Auction-based pricing is fundamental to the way the paid search marketplace works, and that’s now translating over to the digital media landscape as well. That sort of real-time, spot-market and auction-based pricing combined with people who make good decisions about how to price inventory in that kind of environment are going to see that opportunity broaden.
What’s your average day like?
It starts with about 300 e-mails a day that I try to plow through in the morning. I’m a business news junkie so I go to the business news blogs and check out industry developments throughout the day. I try not to spend more than 50% of my time in meetings but it doesn’t always work out that way. It used to be primarily internal and client meetings but over the past six months or so I’ve been meeting more with vendors about what’s happening in the auction-based media space. I don’t travel too much but I’m usually on the road about 15% of the time – meeting with clients, going to conferences. We try to do fun stuff with the team, too – we’re doing karaoke tonight actually.
What’s the hardest part of your job and what part do you love the most?
I love the pace of innovation. You’re never done – you have to reinvent the way you do business, the way you optimize, the way you think about opportunities – it keeps things really interesting. What I like the least is that there’s not enough time in the day to always get done what you want to get done. There’s so much opportunity out there but you have to be very judicious about what you do and don’t bite off, which at the end of the day means you leave something really interesting stuff on the table. I find working with clients really exciting – they’re the most accurate window we have into the market, so getting feedback on what they’re interested in and what’s keeping them up at night drives the innovation cycle. I’d rather be talking to them than sitting at a desk answering e-mail.
What advice would you give someone breaking into the search industry or the agency world in general?
Your best bet is to be very flexible in the way you approach the job. If you feel like you’re going to be doing four or five things day in and day out, you’re in for a surprise. A lot of what you’ll be expected to do, no one even knows about – you’ll have to figure it out and make it up. You have to be flexible and willing to invent things; then you can do really well and stay in the career for a long time.
What’s the biggest challenge of being a search marketer?
The challenge with search is that you’re never done. There’s always another analysis you can do, always another optimization report you can run. The challenge is just that you have to pick your areas of focus and do a sort of return-of-effort analysis – how much better can I make the campaign if I spend my time in one area vs. another area?
What’s your favorite karaoke song to sing?
I tend to digress into 80’s metal – I may break out some Night Ranger or Blue Oyster Cult, but I also like country ballads so maybe some Conway Twitty if I’m feeling soulful.